Top, Edward

Edward Top was born in Ommen, the Netherlands, in 1972. Top has lived and worked in London, Bangkok, and Rotterdam. He now lives in Vancouver, Canada. Top studied composition and ...

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... en weende hij bitter : voor viool, violoncello en piano, 2000/2001 / Edward Top

Publisher: Amsterdam: Donemus, 2002
Publisher's number: 10446
Genre: Chamber music
Subgenre: Piano Trio (piano, violin, cello)
Instruments: pf vl vc
Remarks: In opdracht van het Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst. - Geschreven voor het Doelen Ensemble. - Opgedragen aan Joh. Seb. Bach en Arnold Schönberg. - Cop. MuziekGroep Nederland, 2001. - Tijdsduur: ca. 18'
Duration: 18'00"
Number of players: 3
Year of composition: 2001
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Ik weet niet wat gij zegt
En weende hij bitter
Al moest ik ook met U sterven, zo zal ik U geenszins verloochenen
Program note (English): 'Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly.’ Matthew 26:75 (Holy Bible)
The crowing of the rooster is the metaphore for the awakening of Peter about what has just happened. Suddenly several matters are materialized to him simultaneously;
-the prophecy of Jesus comes true, in spite of the fact that Peter knew for sure that he would never deny his Lord
-how disappointed he was about the judgement of Jesus concerning Peters’ loyalty towards him and how Jesus against Peters’ will, at this moment proves to be right
- the powerlessness of Peters’ position, his invalidity compared to the superhuman fundamentalistic Jesus.
The motive of Peters’ actions forms the foundation of the composition ...and he wept bitterly. The motto of the first movement is from Marquis de Sade: "Cruelty is nothing but the energy of man, not yet corrupted by civilization." This energy is activated in situations of fear. In the above lesson, cruelty emerges in the shape of denyal. Of fear for his own skin, Peter gives that person the push of whom his intellect, his civilized ‘I’ says, that he should give his life for it. Actions of civilized man, are merely controled by that which nature, then that which intellect dictates.
Especially the first movement is composed in a intuitive way, the music represents unprecedented cruelty. Here the soundscape is robust and harsh, and in this manner it evokes, past the station of the intellect, feelings of fear.
Of course during the proces of composing one should observe the rules and laws of music, but this knowledge is inferior to what music suggests. The piano plays a large number of clusters and glissandos and the violin and cello often play primitive scratching tones. The lowest string of the violin is retuned down to ‘F’, through which the sound of the instrument becomes raw. The title of the first movement is: ‘Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!"’, which shows Peters desperate fear.
The second movement, ‘I do not know what you are saying’, is a passionate and at the same time fiercely musical expression of Peters’ fear to be named by the people in one and the same breath with black sheep Jesus. Stilistically this movement reminds of late romantic chambermusic, here with a rough surface.
The third movement ’...and he wept bitterly’ opens with an echo of a melody from Bachs’ John Passion, in which the sentence ‘Und weinete Bitterlich’ is set to music very freely and dramatically. Interesting about this melody is that if one would hear it isolated, one wouldn’t be able to place it in a certain style period, the melody rizes above time, it is disconnected from it’s location in music history. Nevertheless, in this third movement of the pianotrio, the sound of the piano refers to the baroque, in its own unconventional way. Peters’ unavoidable drama is executed here.
The fourth movement, Largo Psichedelico has the motto ‘Even if I had to die with You, I will not deny You!’ In this ultimately slow finale, the higher plane of the mystical experience is explored. In spite of a loaded tension it is disconnected from the drama that appears later in the story, but which in this piece is already executed in the previous movements.
...and he wept bitterly was premiered in March 2002 in De Doelen in Rotterdam. - EDWARD TOP

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